Feb 12, 2017

Sundaze 1707

Hello, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who has died Januari 22nd aged 78, is the trigger for these Sundaze. The so-called “motorik” beat, a minimalist, relentless form of rhythm practised by groups including Neu! and Kraftwerk, became one of the most distinctive trademarks of Germany’s postwar rock groups. Liebezeit, a founding member of the Cologne-based quintet Can, was also a skilled practitioner of the motorik approach, but he was much more besides. He was able to incorporate a range of moods and styles into his playing, from African and funk rhythms to violent thrashing grooves, while always maintaining meticulous rhythmic control.
His playing could veer from the heavy, pulverising beat he created on You Doo Right, from Can’s debut album Monster Movie (1969), to the lithe, off-kilter feel he brought to One More Night, from Ege Bamyasi (1972). On the title track of Flow Motion (1976), Liebezeit delivered a lesson in lean, bare-bones funkiness. So precise and unswerving was Liebezeit’s playing, which included an ability to repeat drum patterns with uncanny precision, that he was likened to a human drum machine. To this he retorted that “the difference between a machine and me is that I can listen, I can hear and I can react to the other musicians, which a machine cannot do”. His particular gift was the ability to refine his drumming down to a compact, streamlined essence, so that when he did eventually add a fresh accent or extra beat it became a musical event of startling significance.

Today's artists are a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1968. The group cycled through several lineups in subsequent years, including vocalists Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki. Drawing from backgrounds in avant-garde and jazz music, Can incorporated rock, minimalist, electronic, and world music elements into their often psychedelic and funk-inflected music.They have been widely hailed as pioneers of the German krautrock scene, exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, underground, ambient, new wave and electronic music. ......N'Joy

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 Always at least three steps ahead of contemporary popular music, Can were the leading avant-garde rock group of the '70s. From their very beginning, their music didn't conform to any commonly held notions about rock & roll -- not even those of the countercultures. Inspired more by 20th century classical music than Chuck Berry, their closest contemporaries were Frank Zappa or possibly the Velvet Underground. Yet their music was more serious and inaccessible than either of those artists. Instead of recording tight pop songs or satire, Can experimented with noise, synthesizers, nontraditional music, cut-and-paste techniques, and, most importantly, electronic music; each album marked a significant step forward from the previous album, investigating new territories that other rock bands weren't interested in exploring.

Throughout their career, Can's lineup was fluid, featuring several different vocalists over the years; the core bandmembers remained keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, drummer Jaki Leibezeit, guitarist Michael Karoli, and bassist Holger Czukay. During the '70s, they were extremely prolific, recording as many as three albums a year at the height of their career. Apart from a surprise U.K. Top 30 hit in 1978 -- "I Want More" -- they were never much more than a cult band; even critics had a hard time appreciating their music.

Can debuted in 1969 with the primitive, bracing Monster Movie, the only full-length effort to feature American-born vocalist Malcolm Mooney. 1970's Soundtracks, a collection of film music, introduced Japanese singer Kenji "Damo" Suzuki, and featured "Mother Sky," one of the group's best-known compositions. With 1971's two-record set Tago Mago, Can hit their visionary stride, shedding the constraints of pop forms and structures to explore long improvisations, angular rhythms, and experimental textures.

1972's Ege Bamayasi refined the approach, and incorporated an increasingly jazz-like sensibility into the mix; Future Days, recorded the following year as Suzuki's swan song, traveled even further afield into minimalist, almost ambient territory. With 1974's Soon Over Babaluma, Can returned to more complicated and abrasive ground, introducing dub rhythms as well as Karoli's shrieking violin. 1976's Unlimited Edition and 1977's Saw Delight proved equally restless, and drew on a wide range of ethnic musics.

When the band split in 1978 following the success of the album Flow Motion and the hit "I Want More," they left behind a body of work that has proven surprisingly groundbreaking; echoes of Can's music can be heard in Public Image Limited, the Fall, and Einstürzende Neubauten, among others. As with much aggressive and challenging experimental music, Can's music can be difficult to appreciate, yet their albums offer some of the best experimental rock ever recorded.

Since the split, all the former members have been involved in musical projects, often as session musicians for other artists. In 1986 they briefly reformed, with original vocalist Mooney, to record Rite Time (released in 1989). There was a further reunion in 1991 by Karoli, Liebezeit, Mooney and Schmidt to record a track for the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World and in August 1999 by Karoli, Liebezeit and Schmidt with Jono Podmore to record a cover of "The Third Man Theme" for Grönland record's compilation album Pop 2000. In 1999 the four core members of Can, Karoli, Liebezeit, Schmidt and Czukay, performed live at the same show, although playing separately with their current solo projects (Sofortkontakt, Club Off Chaos, Kumo and U-She respectively). Michael Karoli died of cancer on November 17, 2001. Can have since been the subject of numerous compilations, live albums and samples. In 2004, the band began a series of Super Audio CD remasters of its back catalog, which were finished in 2006. Jaki Liebezeit died of pneumonia on January 22, 2017.

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The follow-up to Tago Mago is only lesser in terms of being shorter; otherwise the Can collective delivers its expected musical recombination act with the usual power and ability. Liebezeit, at once minimalist and utterly funky, provides another base of key beat action for everyone to go off on -- from the buried, lengthy solos by Karoli on "Pinch" to the rhythm box/keyboard action on "Spoon." The latter song, which closes the album, is particularly fine, its sound hinting at an influence on everything from early Ultravox songs like "Hiroshima Mon Amour" to the hollower rhythms on many of Gary Numan's first efforts. Liebezeit and Czukay's groove on "One More Night," calling to mind a particularly cool nightclub at the end of the evening, shows that Stereolab didn't just take the brain-melting crunch side of Can as inspiration. The longest track, "Soup," lets the band take off on another one of its trademark lengthy rhythm explorations, though not without some tweaks to the expected sound. About four minutes in, nearly everything drops away, with Schmidt and Liebezeit doing the most prominent work; after that, it shifts into some wonderfully grating and crumbling keyboards combined with Suzuki's strange pronouncements, before ending with a series of random interjections from all the members. Playfulness abounds as much as skill: Slide whistles trade off with Suzuki on "Pinch"; squiggly keyboards end "Vitamin C"; and rollicking guitar highlights "I'm So Green." The underrated and equally intriguing sense of drift that the band brings to its recordings continues as always. "Sing Swan Song" is particularly fine, a gentle float with Schmidt's keyboards and Czukay's bass taking the fore to support Suzuki's sing-song vocal.

Can - Ege Bamyasi  (flac  234mb)

01 Pinch 9:28
02 Sing Swan Song 4:18
03 One More Night 5:35
04 Vitamin C 3:34
05 Soup 10:25
06 I'm So Green 3:03
07 Spoon 3:03

Can - Ege Bamyasi      (ogg  100mb)

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On Future Days, Can fully explored the ambient direction they had introduced into their sound on the previous year's Ege Bamyasi, and in the process created a landmark in European electronic music. Where Ege Bamyasi had played fast and loose with elements of rock song structure, Future Days dispensed with these elements altogether, creating hazy, expansive soundscapes dominated by percolating rhythms and evocative layers of keys. Vocalist Damo Suzuki turns in his final and most inspired performance with the band. His singing, which takes the form here of a rhythmic, nonsensical murmur, is all minimal texture and shading. Apart from the delightfully concise single "Moonshake," the album is comprised of just three long atmospheric pieces of music. The title track eases us into the sonic wash, while "Spray" is built around Suzuki's eerie vocals, which weave in and out of the shimmering instrumental tracks. The closing "Bel Air" is a gloriously expansive piece of music that progresses almost imperceptibly, ending abruptly after exactly 20 minutes. Aptly titled, Future Days is fiercely progressive, calming, complex, intense, and beautiful all at once. It is one of Can's most fully realized and lasting achievements.

Can - Future Days  (flac  412mb)

01 Future Days 9:34
02 Spray 8:28
03 Moonshake 3:02
04 Bel Air 20:00

Can - Future Days    (ogg 129mb)

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With Suzuki departed, vocal responsibilities were now split between Karoli and Schmidt. Wisely, neither try to clone Mooney or Suzuki, instead aiming for their own low-key way around things. The guitarist half speaks/half whispers his lines on the opening groover, "Dizzy Dizzy," while on "Come Sta, La Luna" Schmidt uses a higher pitch that is mostly buried in the background. Czukay sounds like he's throwing in some odd movie samples on that particular track, though perhaps it's just heavy flanging on Schmidt's vocals. Karoli's guitar achieves near-flamenco levels on the song, an attractive development that matches up nicely with the slightly lighter and jazzier rhythms the band comes up with on tracks like "Splash." Also, his violin work -- uncredited on earlier releases -- is a bit more prominent here. Musically, if things are a touch less intense on Babaluma, the sense of a band perfectly living in each other's musical pocket and able to react on a dime hasn't changed at all. "Chain Reaction," the longest track on the album, shows that the combination of lengthy jam and slight relaxation actually can go together rather well. After an initial four minutes of quicker pulsing and rhythm (which sounds partly machine provided), things downshift into a slower vocal section before firing up again; Karoli's blistering guitar work at this point is striking to behold. "Chain Reaction" bleeds into Babaluma's final song, "Quantum Physics," a more ominous piece with Czukay's bass closer to the fore, shaded by Schmidt's work and sometimes accompanied by Liebezeit. It makes for a nicely mysterious conclusion to the album.

Can - Soon Over Babaluma  (flac  236mb)

01 Dizzy Dizzy 5:40
02 Come Sta, La Luna 5:44
03 Splash 7:47
04 Chain Reaction 11:12
05 Quantum Physics 8:33

Can - Soon Over Babaluma   (ogg  96mb)

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Expanding the original Limited Edition release to a full double-LP/single-CD set, Unlimited is very much a dog's breakfast -- albeit a highly entertaining one -- of previously unreleased performances. Suzuki and Mooney take the spotlight on some songs, while on others the key foursome go at it in their usual way. A number of songs are mere snippets, like the vaguely tribal-sounding "Blue Bag," while one tune, the 20-minute "Cutaway," from 1969, is a sprawling pastiche of oddities. (Keep an ear out for the very formal request to keep modulations in frequency with other bandmembers!) Five cuts are listed as part of the band's continuing Ethnological Forgery Series, on which they recreate or interpret a variety of world musics through their own vision. The majority of songs come from 1968-1971 -- manna from heaven for those interested in the band's roots. Many cuts show off the varying abilities of the players. Leibezeit plays wind instruments on five separate cuts, while Schmidt is credited with "schizophone" on the Mooney-sung funk-soul of "The Empress and the Ukraine King." Though a few tracks are seemingly here to fill space, a lot of what's present easily stands up on its own, and with the band's legend as well. The opening cut, "Gomorrha," recorded after Suzuki's departure, is quite fine, an understated but still epic piece with lovely keyboards from Schmidt and intoxicating Karoli guitar. On the Suzuki-era cut "I'm Too Leise," Leibezeit's medieval flutes and light percussion add to a half-folk/half-something-else vibe. Mooney gets an interesting moment of glory with "Mother Upduff," a spoken-word tale of tourists in Europe that turns increasingly strange after the encounter with the octopus.

Can - Unlimited Edition    (flac  453mb)

01 Gomorrha 5:47
02 Doko E 2:28
03 LH 702 (Nairobi / München) 2:13
04 I'm Too Leise 5:11
05 Musette 2:14
06 Blue Bag (Inside Paper) 1:18
07 E.F.S. No. 27 1:49
08 TV Spot 3:02
09 E.F.S. No. 7 1:06
10 The Empress And The Ukraine King 4:42
11 E.F.S. No. 10 2:02
12 Mother Upduff 4:29
13 E.F.S. No. 361:58
14 Cutaway 17:11
15 Connection 2:59
16 Fall Of Another Year 3:24
17 E.F.S. No. 8 1:37
18 Transcendental Express 4:40
19 Ibis 9:20

Can - Unlimited Edition   (ogg  180mb)

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